Make Cheese Make Peace

May 15, 2016

Azaza was one of the priority communities to be selected as a Community Security and Stabilization Programme (C2SP) target location given the presence of  large numbers of displaced people nomads and farmers affiliated with different tribes in the state. Traditionally, most of the nomads used to move towards Upper Nile State (South Sudan), but the tensions between Sudan and South Sudan resulted in making them shifting towards Tadamon and Baw localities. The area is also hosting internally displaced families who are affiliated to SPLM/N (especially those who moved to avoid conflict from outer areas of Baw and Tadamon localities)

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Witnessing the less active economic role of woman in Azaza community, the cheese making production was directed to women both from the IDP and host community to cultivate social cohesion amongst them and to encourage economic empowerment of woman. Through the provision of practical and theoretical dairy production training and establishment of market access through opening a retail shop in Damazine Market.  The cheese production takes place in Azaza Youth Centre, products are then transported by tricycles to the selling point, a designated shop in Damazin market. In an average week, 400 containers  of yoghurt are produced generating an income of 46 SDGs per person.

As per the assessment, the livestock in Azaza produce vast quantities of milk that exceeded the communities demand. The overproduced milk was either sold cheaply or spoiled due to inadequate storage. Since there was no dairy products production in Azaza, the community welcomed the idea of setting up a profitable activity utilizing milk to manufacture dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. The groups agreed that they will save part of their income in their bank account to accumulate sufficient capital to expand their business in the future; while the other part of the income can be divided among the group members to fulfil their household needs. The provided assets, support, capacity building and technical training are meant to ensure prolonged production, economic benefits and women empowerment and thereof sustainability. The cheese making intervention is mainly targeting women with a noteworthy ripple effect to their family members and reviving the local economy by tapping into a new market. Thus C2SP intervention in Azaza is an example of an intervention that responds to the context issues of C2SP while giving considerable emphasis on sustainability.

 “We are very excited to leave our homes every morning to feel productive “said Amna Alnayer member of the women cheese making group. “This training has really benefitted us and allowed us to mix with the IDP community” Altoma Abdalla added “ We  would had so much leftover  milk  that  we didn’t know what to with it ,but  now with our income from cheese and yoghurt that we make , we are able to help our husbands in our house construction and we can contribute to our children’s education” .

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On 8th of May 2016 The Ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, Italy and Switzerland along with diplomates representing  African Union, DfID, Norway, South Korea, the American Embassy and USAID accompanied by UNDP Sudan Country Director and Officials from Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission made a one day visit to UNDP Community Security and Stabilisation Project “C2SP”,Blue Nile state. “Wherever we find Commitment we find success and we are looking forward to shift our efforts from humanitarian to development” said H.E. Salah E. Bendaoud, the Canadian Ambassador in Sudan.

The delegation visited the established dairy production unit value chain venture at Azaza community in Blue Nile State. While women from both host community and displaced population together have taken lead on cheese making, other beneficiaries are involved in the rain fed agriculture. During off-season, tricycle carriers are rented out to other commercial activities to generate funds for the venture.  The tractor and tilling machines supplied to the community will be used in cultivating the land, which is rented by the community under rain fed agriculture. During dry season, the community is renting out the tractor to other communities to generate funds for their community management committee (CMC). The CMC members for each community are made up of men, women and mixed youth from different backgrounds representing all segments of selected target communities, CMC’s are central for the participatory C2SP approach.

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Encouraged by the approach and the results in five pilots, UNDP in coordination with SDDRC and 9 line ministries , the Community Security and Stabilisation Project (C2SP) has been launched in 2015 in five bordering states namely: North Korodfan, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, Sennar , White Nile and West Kordofan  states along with some activities in Khartoum state . “Glad to see such partnership going on between UNDP, Government of Blue Nile and the International Community making for the benefit of local communities said H.E. Fabrizio Lobasso, the Italian Ambassador in Sudan.  The programme mainly targets 52% of youth particularly youth with conflict carrying capacity, women and displaced populations in the areas affected by the conflict. The programme contributes to resilience and stability of the communities of Sudan by providing alternative livelihoods to youth with conflict carrying capacities, women and displaced populations in addition to a social component which address the issues of peace building, social cohesion and resilience to radicalisation. “What we witnessed in Azzazah was encouraging, especially the involvement of national NGOs” Said Ms. Inga Dalin, the Norwegian embassy in Sudan.

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“Switzerland is eager to contribute in development efforts ongoing in Sudan” Said H.E. Martin Strub, Ambassador of Switzerland in Sudan.

The delegation further visited a fishery project that includes provision of motorized boats with cold storage and wooden boats and vocational training on fishery related activities, targeting unemployed youth from communities which were in conflict and also visited the People with Disability centre. The centre houses a dumb and deaf school, handcarts centre and a bakery run by the PWD’s .DAL group (private Sector) supported the training of the PWD’s in bread making to improve their baking techniques and ensure its quality. “Such projects lead to the prosperity of the people of Sudan and we want to see more of such projects” H.E. Jose Mauro Da Fonseca Costa Couto, Brazilian ambassador in Sudan.

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With the support from Japan and Spain phase II of the programme has started, as of date, 14 projects have been implemented in four different states to contribute to the stability and resilience of unemployed youth (men and women inclusive) who have the potential to be radicalized and mobilized to join violent extremists groups and conflicts as well as the selected communities which are at the risk of being drawn into conflicts in the border areas.  “What is most heartening to see today was the will and efforts of the community to take charge of their prosperity. I should admit that I am captivated by the determination of the Azaza community to move towards development.”  Said Selva Ramachandran UNDP Sudan Country Director.

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